Thursday, December 15, 2005

Lionizing a Killer

FrontPageMag has an on-scene photo shoot by of the protests which accompanied the execution of Tookie Williams. Anyone who may have been leaning toward clemency for Williams may be deeply troubled by the behavior and allegiances of some of the people who hold that position, and anyone who feels any sympathy for Williams should be sure to look at the photo of the young woman he killed.

No Joy in Demville

The festive spirit and euphoria of the Iraqi people at being able to vote for their government in a meaningful election is displayed all over Iraq (see here, here and here). Smiles and waves are everywhere as the people ignored the threat of violence and filled the streets to walk to the polls.

At home, however, it's rather a different story. The sourpuss Dems look like they've bitten into an aspirin. They know they have to express satisfaction that things have gone well, but it's just not in their nature to be happy with a George Bush success. So on Hardball tonight Bob Schrum, a synecdoche of the liberal response to the day's events, mumbled lip service to the accomplishment that the elections represent and quickly moved on to warning that the real measure of success will be what happens in the months ahead.

The Dems say this everytime something good happens in Iraq. Like the illusory "puddles" on the highway on a hot day, however, we never seem to arrive at the "months ahead." If Iraq is a stable democracy by this time next year, and a force for peace in the Middle East, the Democrats will still be saying that Iraq may be a haven for freedom now, but what matters is whether it will still be a democracy twenty years from now.

Chris Matthews kept demanding on his show that Pat Buchanan and other guests tell him whether the president's strategy was really going to work, as if any mortal could actually know such a thing. How can anyone say that it will all be like the Garden of Eden in Baghdad this time next year? No one knows that. What we do know, though, is that things are moving in the right direction and that despite the constant wailing and teeth gnashing by the Howard Deans and Harry Reids and the MoveOn.orgs, every benchmark that the Bush administration has set for Iraq has so far been met.

The Democrats are in an awful predicament. Having cast their lot in opposition to Bush on Iraq, if that tragic nation succeeds the Dems will suffer a grievous political setback yet they certainly can't be seen hoping that Iraq fails. So, they have to keep cautioning the American people that as good as it appears to be going in Iraq, it's not really all that good. They have to hope that they convince enough voters that doom is just around the next bend as long as Bush is in the White House and Republicans control Congress. Of course, the next bend, like the months ahead, never arrives and eventually the American people are reminded of the story of the boy who cried "wolf" and the Democrats will be cast into the political outer darkness of irrelevancy. It's a just desert for people who have sought to undermine the president on a matter as absolutely crucial as Iraq.

Christian Belief I

On Monday we posted a piece on the essential beliefs held by Christians and remarked that we would be elaborating on some of those over the course of the next two weeks. I'd like to briefly consider the first of them today.

The most fundamental belief in Christianity, of course, is the conviction that God exists, but this claim means different things to different people. A recent poll shows that 94% of Americans believe that God exists, but it's not clear that these people all share the same concept of God. For example, is the God one believes exists intimately involved in the world or is He/It remote, indifferent, and impersonal? Is God just the universe, or some part of it, or is God a transcendent being which created the universe and cannot be identified with any aspect or combination of aspects of it?

Christianity has historically answered those questions by affirming that God possesses, at a minimum, the following attributes:

1. Personality: I.e. It is appropriate to refer to God as He. It is the case that God is self-aware and aware of the world in which we live. He cares about this world and cares about us. It makes sense to speak or pray to God because it matters to Him.

2. Transcendence: God is other than the world of space/time and matter and not identifiable with it.

3. Extraordinary potency: His power is at least great enough to have created the universe and to work out His will in it. He may be more powerful than this and, indeed, may be able to do anything which it is logically possible to do, but He is at least this powerful.

4. Extraordinary knowledge: God knows at least enough to have created the universe and to work out His will in it. His knowledge may be greater than this in that He may know everything that it is logically possible to know, but His knowledge is at least this great.

5. Eternality: God has no beginning and no end.

6. Moral perfection: God always acts in the best interest of His creation. He is the exemplar of Love and is the source of all moral categories and understanding.

7. Omnipresence: There is no place in creation, either spatially or temporally, where God is not.

8. Ultimate causality: God is the source of all that we can possibly experience. He is the creator and sustainer of the universe. The entire cosmos is ultimately contingent upon Him.

When Christians assert the existence of God they are claiming that a being with at least these attributes exists. Many Christian believers may not be able to articulate this concept of God off the top of their head, but if they were to be shown the list they would surely agree that these qualities accurately describe what they mean by God.

In any event, nothing else about Christianity (or anything else in the cosmos and in life, for that matter) would make any sense whatsoever were not the case that God exists. This is the foundational theological belief for theists in general and Christian theists in particular, and everything else is based upon it and flows from it.

PC Dunderheads offers up a few samples of that bane of modern society, the perpetually aggrieved citizen who takes umbrage at the possibility that someone, somewhere might be enjoying his or her life. These Gestapo-like enforcers of the PC orthodoxy keep a wary look-out for anyone who might show the slightest hint of having fun or doing good on the tax-payers dime, lest what they are doing have about it the foul odor of the incendiary R words - Religion and Racism:

A Christmas charity drive by some elementary school kiddies in Bellevue, Wash., has been axed after some parents complained that the "Giving Tree" with colored mittens all over it was a symbol of Christianity that has no place in public schools, according to KOMO-TV.

The tree at Medina Elementary School, described as a nondescript coil of silver with a star on top, had mittens as decorations with the ages and sex of prospective gift recipients along with some suggestions about what they wanted for Christmas.

When a parent complained that the tree was too Christian, the school covered the star on top with a bow to appease the parent but it wasn't enough. So the principal put the mittens on other secular symbols of the season - a sled, a snowman, a 'regular' tree and a plain old counter.


The success of the Narnia movie is bringing the usual C.S. Lewis critics out of the woodwork - especially anti-Christian zealots who object to its allegory and allusions to Christianity.

The Associated Press, in an analysis of Lewis' Christianity, points out that Americans United for Separation of Church and State criticized Florida Gov. Jeb Bush for offending the Constitution by choosing "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" for his state's annual student reading campaign.

"This whole contest is totally inappropriate," said Barry Lynn, the group's director. "This would be like asking children to watch the movie 'The Passion of the Christ' and to write an essay with the winner getting a trip to Rome."

Oh, and Polly Toynbee of the UK's Guardian today says "Narnia represents everything that is most hateful about religion."


A schoolgirl in the UK claims she was tossed out of school because she refused to remove a small crucifix necklace, reports the Daily Telegraph.

Sixteen-year-old Sam Morris says she was sent home from Sinfin Community School in Derby for breaking a school policy that bans jewelry. Her mother complained about the rule, claiming it is unfairly enforced because Sikh students are allowed to wear karas because it is required by their faith.

A school official defended the policy by saying Christianity doesn't require its adherents to wear crosses, but the Sikh faith does. "We have to be understanding," he said. "We live in a multi-faith society."


The Toledo Blade quotes a high school principal as "quickly correcting himself" when he accidentally says his school has a Christmas tree up:

"Oh, it's a holiday tree," he corrects himself when questioned about end-of-year decorations. "We try to respect everybody's beliefs," he said. "The music department does a Christmas concert. Well, actually it's a holiday concert."

The anecdote comes in a roundup about how local schools have in recent years been sliding away from use of the C-word and opting for the more neutral "Holiday" instead.

A student at a high school in Missouri creating a giant calendar for the hallway was told by a teacher that Christmas tree imagery was off-limits, according to the Springfield News-Leader, and that only winter themes could used.

This follows news about an e-mail sent out to fine arts teachers across the district who were preparing for an assembly to be held later this month. The e-mail stated: "This is just a reminder that we agreed to have a winter assembly on December 8th at 9:00 in the HPER. This assembly will display the talents of your students and can include holiday themes, but not direct references to Christmas or the birth of Jesus."

And here are a few more examples of PC stupidity compliments of Tongue-Tied:

Third-graders in Madison, Wisc. won't be allowed to ring bells to raise money for the Salvation Army as they have in the past because one parent complained about the kids helping a religious-based charity, according to The Capital Times.

Students from Chavez Elementary have for years helped out the red kettle brigade during the Christmas season, along with hundreds of students from around the county. For some, it qualifies as part of their community service obligation.

Principal Howard Fried said the school administration stood down immediately when faced with the complaint. "When the objection was raised, the administration downtown told us, in no uncertain terms, not to allow it," he said.


Black men, says a writer in the London Times, will think twice before seeing the new King Kong movie because the story "feeds into all the colonial hysteria about black hyper-sexuality" and "touches the raw nerve of the Darwin-based association between black men and apes."

The filmmaker, Peter Jackson, used the same hackneyed stereotypes in his Lord of the Rings triology, so Kong's racism comes as no surprise to writer writes Kwame McKenzie. In those films, he says, "the most fearsome baddies were big black and just a bit too Maori looking, the good guys - well white."

Mr. McKenzie says the folks who do movie ratings should look for negative racial stereotypes in addition to sex and violence.


A UK author who said during a radio interview that it might not be such a hot idea to allow homosexual men to adopt young boys during a radio interview found herself under investigation by local police for her "homophobic incident," according to the Daily Telegraph.

Children's rights campaigner Lynette Burrows took part in a panel discussion about the UK's new civil partnerships act on a regional BBC program. During the course of the discussion she said placing boys with homosexual fathers was as risky as placing girls with two heterosexual men.

Scotland Yard said a member of the public complained of Burrows' homophobia and police are obligated to follow-up on such "priority crimes." No charges were filed.

We marvel that the average IQ is around 100 when we reflect that there are so many people, especially among the multitudes of liberal bureaucrats, whose IQ must approximate their age.